The Xbox One World Tour has graced the emerald Isle for the weekend and lucky Xbox enthusiasts will be able to test out their favourite games before the official launch next week. I got to go to a special preview and got hands on with the Xbox One. I walk into the hall and there it was, the future of gaming, sitting there in front of me. I never would’ve thought that I would be able to get to play this console until sometime next year but there it was and the staff member hands me the controller and asks will I play him in a vs. match of the new Killer Instinct. How could I refuse!

This event was mainly showcasing the launch titles that the Xbox One has to offer and didn’t really touch on the hardware side of things. But I will say this, the controller feels so much better than the previous 360 pad. It feels lighter, more streamlined and fits to your hands so damn perfectly it’s insane. Eliminating the bulky battery back to make it lighter and giving the player more freedom to rest their fingers on the back of the controller was a great touch. I did feel that the bumper buttons (LB & RB) felt quite stiff at times and during a game of COD: Ghosts i really had to search for the buttons and press down very sharply to get them to throw the grenade.

Another minor thing that I will have to get used to is the positioning of the new D-Pad, it is slightly further away from the left analogue stick and instead of being stuck out from the rest of the controller it is actually embedded into the controller, which was really odd for me, I kept thinking i was missing it. Those pesky few millimetres really make a big difference in performance! (That’s what she said!)

So now onto the games, there was a host of launch titles on show at the event, ranging from Forza 5 to Peggle 2 to LocoCycle. All of which were merely demo and development builds so all the following reviews should be taken lightly, given the fact that the games on launch will be more polished and would, hopefully, run better!

So as I walked into the event I was told there was two areas, one main area where the majority of games were placed, and an upstairs area where Killer Instinct and Fifa 14 was being played. I headed up to the Killer Instinct floor and jumped right into the reboot of the classic beat-em-up!

Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct, if you haven’t played the original version of it then this new revamped version will do very nicely to fill that gaping need for a new beat-em-up! The graphics are to be expected from the next gen consoles, it does look amazing, but the TVs that they were using didn’t give it justice I think. The picture looked grainy and pixelated. There was a heavy focus on the particle effects and smoke throughout the game and it really did add a new dimension that is very rare on current gen consoles. Now this could be the TV’s that were used or the fact that standing a foot and half away from the TV isn’t ideal viewing angle, but there is so much going on during the combos and even the quieter moments of the game after 5-10 minutes you will be so engrossed in the gameplay that the pixilation will be the last thing on your mind!

The gameplay is pretty fun though, although I did get my ass handed to me by multiple people I still had fun button mashing like the good old days. It looks and feels very much like Tekken X Street Fighter But using the Killer Instinct characters of course. Overall a very enjoyable beat-em-up with great graphics and a very decent combo system that will leave all fighting game enthusiasts panting for more! There is a host of combos and special attacks that seem to have come straight from the Street Fighter Universe, some of which include the Haduken and the dragon Punch, all this can be done with the same button combinations as you would expect from a fighting game, which was a great touch, no new combinations to learn. Yay!

Oh I forgot to mention that it comes with the console on purchase! And only requires an internet connection to update the game, which adds new characters and levels!

Fifa 14

Next on the list was Fifa 14, now I will be a little bias and admit that I was never a fan of football games, or football in general, but after seeing Fifa 14 on the Xbox One I was pleasantly surprised. Everything about this game just reeks of fluidity and smoothness, in other words everything flows so well. The passing of the ball, the diving of the keeper, the celebration after that massive goal. The character animations were also updated and it still had the same feel of any other Fifa game out there but it did feel a lot different being played on the new console. The facial animations were spot on, personally I don’t know what the players really look like so if you are a die-hard footie fan then maybe you can check it out and let me know if they did a good job capturing the visage of your beloved footie icon!

It all looks amazing in high definition, expect for the character models, to me they didn’t look up to scratch compared to some of the other aspects of the game and in my personal opinion I felt that they out more effort in making the crowd look more realistic than the players themselves! But overall if you are a long running Fifa fan or a football fan in general I don’t think you’d be disappointed in the next gen version of the franchise.

Then I headed downstairs and into the madhouse, the floor was packed with beanbags, controllers, Turtle Beach and Astro headsets and over 20+ Xbox Ones. I set my sights on Dead Rising 3 pulled up a bean bag and jumped right in. I was surprised to say the least!

Dead Rising 3

Dead Rising 3 is the only launch title that is really pushing me towards purchasing the Xbox One, its predecessor was the reason I bought the original Xbox 360 in the first place so instinctively I wanted to sink my teeth I to this! Now my very first impression was pretty good, that game looked amazing and it ran as smooth as Dairy Gold butter but then the zombies started to come into play and when I say there was 100’s of them I literally mean it. This was to show off the sheer power of the One, as if to say “Look how many zombies and objects we can fit on the screen and the game still runs fine!” eh….no!

I was really disappointed in the fact that every time I turned around and faced the horde of the living dead the console would stutter and the frame rate would drop really badly. And to see that on a console of this proportion is a very bad sign indeed. Well let’s not jump to the gun too quickly I told myself, maybe it was just a buggy copy of the demo, but alas, every other console that I seen the game run on had the exact same issues. This was however a beta test demo for the event so hopefully that means that the actual retail release of the game itself will be a lot more polished and all the frame rate drops will be under control.

The actual game itself was pretty epic, it has everything that a zombie killer like myself would want in a Dead Rising game, it has weapons, super weapons, combo weapons, executions, kill streaks and some of the best looking zombies that I have ever seen. The gritty tone and low lightning really sets this apart from the cartoonish predecessors and tries to put a whole new spin on things, but after grabbing a female zombie, back flipping and pile driving her head into mush I soon came to the conclusion that this is definitely a must buy when the console is released next week!

Ryse: Son of Rome

One of the most hyped up games of the launch , and does it live up to the hype….kinda! Once again it was very hard to do a decent review of the game since all we got to play was a Dev Build and not the actual finished product, but that didn’t stop the game looking absolutely fantastic. As the game starts you have the choice of choosing which God you want to have watch over the fights and thus giving you added abilities, I like this mythological addition to the game but c’mon, i would’ve been surprised if they didn’t have any gods in a Roman Empire game! After choosing a God you are then gifted with seeing the Colosseum getting set up for the bloodshed that’s to follow. With plenty of dust and fire effects it once again seems to want to show off the Xbox One’s power to render all of this and still remain smooth and quiet.

You then get to see you gladiator step out into the centre and taunt the crowd to get them enraptured in the battles, and this for me was literally awe inspiring, the graphics and textures on this characters model actually left me sitting on my beanbag mouth agape and in shock. They truly did a good job in making these warriors look realistic and battle hardened that’s for sure! The actual gameplay itself is very much like the Arkham Games in terms of fight mechanics and it all boils down to a frantic mashing of the X and A buttons with an occasional tap of the Y button for variation. Your gladiator will lunge at the enemies your joystick is aimed at and that was basically it. You can do some execution style moves and they all unfold in glorious slow motion so you can see every bash and gouge. Glorious!

Right, so that’s part 1 of our Xbox One Hands On Review, I still have over 6 games to include in this series so be sure to keep checking back and if you want the latest news from Akroview, check out our Facebook page and out Twitter, all links can be found on the left for desktop and the bottom for mobile. Part 2 HERE!

Adam.

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